Ahmed Bican Yazıcıoğlu

Ahmed Bican Yazıcıoğlu (? - ca. 1466) was an Ottoman author.

The dervish and scholar Ahmed Bican Yazıcıoğlu was a propagandist of the Turkish language. He himself wrote in Turkish, and he translated and compiled literature on the basis of works in the dominant language, Arabic. He is considered to be one of the most important figures of Ottoman culture. The famous legend about the founding of Istanbul can be traced back to his Dürr-i Meknûn.

Yazıcıoğlu came from a literary family. His father, Salih Yazıcı as well as his brother Mehmed Yazıcıoğlu, are well known writers, even today. The grave monuments in Gelibolu for Ahmed and Mehmed are tourist attractions.

Little is known of Yazıcıoğlu's life. We do know that he belonged to the Bayramiyye order and that he lived in Gelibolu (Gallipoli). 'Bican' is a nickname: the Lifeless; in addition to religious fasting, he advocated foregoing sleeping at night. Yazıcıoğlu wrote a number of popular religious and encyclopaedic works, which were transcribed and printed over the centuries. His best known books are the religious work Envârü’l- ‘âşıkîn and the "Dürr-i Meknûn".

The "Dürr-i Meknûn" approaches the world from the Creation according to cosmographic tradition. Details about the heavenly bodies are followed by tales of ancient peoples, prophecies and divine punishments, discourses on stones, images, medicinal plants, mythical creatures, faraway countries, seas and islands with their bizarre inhabitants such as the cynocephali. The author concludes with a chapter about the terrors that await us at the end of the world, including the islamic Antichrist: the Dajjal.

A very remarkable passage in the "Dürr-i Meknûn" is Yazıcıoğlu’s fulminating against the deer- and spring-worshipping by Ottamans, a heathen cult within the empire. Another important passage in this book is a tale about Ken‘an, one of the sons of Nuh (Noah). Ken'an refuses to join his father in the Ark, and hopes to survive the Great Flood in a kind of diving bell that he devises himself. God punishes him for his disobedience with a supernatural bladder infection and Ken'an drowns in his urine inside his own contraption. [Ahmed Bican Yazıcıoğlu, "Dürr-i Meknûn". Kritische Edition mit Kommentar (Laban Kaptein Ed.), Asch 2007]

Other books by Ahmed Bican Yazıcıoğlu are the "Kitabü 'l-müntehã al müstehã ala 'l-fusûs" (1465), "Bostãnü 'l-hakã'ik" (1466), "Cevãhirnãme", "Ravhü 'l-ervãh" and the "Aca'ibu'l-mahlukat".


External link

* [http://www.labankaptein.com/english-durr-i-meknun.html Page on the "Dürr-i Meknûn", with the full text of "Cevãhirnãme"]

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